Cooking, Food

Coconuts and Plums

Coconut Cream Pie
Coconut Cream Pie, fresh out of the oven!

Which have nothing to do with one another, and I figure if I added Beef and Mushrooms to that title, I’d just make you all nervous.

I made my first ever Coconut Cream Pie this week. I’ve made Coconut Custard before, but not the pie the way my dear first reader knows and loves. I pulled the other half of the lard piecrust (from blackberry pie a while back) out to thaw, pulled up a recipe online, and started on my merry way.

When I’m beginning on a recipe I haven’t done before, I usually do mise en place, and get everything measured out and laid out before I begin the cooking part. This lets me see what I have, if I’m missing anything and in this case… to see that the recipe I’d printed out had issues. Normally when I grab a recipe from a blog, I read through it first to see how if works, what the proportions are, and I have been cooking long enough to be able to gauge what the result will be just from looking at the ingredients.

Looking at this recipe, it called for a half cup of milk, which didn’t seem right, and one measurement of sugar, to go in two places, but no indication of how much in what part. Also, it called for salt in a dubious amount for the taste I wanted to acheive. Time to rewrite the recipe a bit and make it work better. Looking at the comments on the blog I used, I could see that although the blogger insisted ½ cup was sufficient, they had all used 2 cups. And some had left out the salt, like I was going to.

Onward!

Coconut Cream Pie

Pie Filling

  • ½ c sugar
  • ⅓ c flour
  • 2 c milk
  • ½ c butter
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs, separated (yolks go in filling)
  • 1 ½ c sweetened flaked coconut
  • One baked 9 in. pie shell

Meringue

  • 3 egg whites
  • ¼ c sugar

In a saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Then whisk in the sugar before slowly adding the flour, whisking out any lumps. Finally, add the milk, eggs, and vanilla (I had combined them and whisked lightly to break up the yolks before this), and continue to cook, stirring constantly, until pudding will coat the back of a spoon. Stir in coconut and remove from heat. Pour filling into pie crust. In a very clean bowl, beat egg whites (I used my kitchen aid and had this going while the pudding was cooking) until frothy, slowly add sugar and continue to beat until they form stiff peaks. Spread over the pie shell, making sure they touch the shell at all points to prevent shrinking as they cook. Place in a 350 deg oven for 10-15 minutes, or until peaks are golden brown.

coconut cream pie
As you can see, filling set up beautifully even if meringue is iffy

Now, the recipe I had called for chilling in a refrigerator for three hours. I think next time I will do countertop for two, as the meringue predictably sweated and got flabby in the refrigerator. Not the way I like it. However! When I asked the First Reader how I had done, his answer was something to the effect of “Mmm! Mm! mmmhmmm mmm mmm!

I think I succeeded! I had never cooked a flour-based pudding before, I grew up with cornstarch bases. This was like making a sweet roux, which was funny, as I had made a savory roux that morning as a base for the Beef and Mushrooms which was in the crockpot for dinner. I served it over egg noodles and it was very tasty.

Beef and Mushrooms
It’s not pretty, but it was sure tasty!

 

 

Beef and Mushrooms

  • 1 lb stew beef chunks
  • 1 can beefy mushroom condensed soup
  • 1 large onion, chopped and browned
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic, also browned
  • 3 tbsp bacon grease
  • ⅓ c flour
  • 1 ½ cans water
  • Sliced mushrooms (I use a lot, you can add what you want)

In a cast iron skillet I melted and heated the bacon grease (I keep a container on the back of the stove and save it while cooking), and added the onions and garlic, cooking until almost clear. Then I browned the meat, and sprinkled the flour over this, stirring, until it cooked and soaked up all the grease. I dumped this into my slow cooker along with the can of soup, and then deglazed the skillet with the can and a half of water to get all the crispy bits and help with cleaning later. The beefy mushroom gravy mixture cooked on ‘slow-cook’ setting for 5 hours (I have an Aroma rice cooker/slow cooker, you can click on the icon below for more details).

Aroma Rice Cooker

You’re dying to know what the plums are about, aren’t you? Well, you know I’m adventurous with food. We also enjoy experimenting with drink, but we don’t actually drink that much, so I keep a bottle of white and red wine (mostly for cooking) and not a whole lot else. But a few months ago while we were roaming through Jungle Jim’s, I spotted a wine I wanted to try. Plum Wine sounded really neat, he had no interest in Sake, and I picked up a bottle. I honestly don’t remember what it cost, which is a good thing, because…

I was in a hurry (bad) didn’t read the label (double bad) and thought the label was pretty, so I grabbed it. When we checked a couple of days ago to see if it needed shilling, we realized something. Even though it SAID it was Plum Wine, it wasn’t. It was california white, with added plum flavoring and caramel color. Uh-OH… Now, we aren’t ingredient snobs, usually, so we chilled it. And last night, we opened it. Oh, dear ghod… It tasted like stewed prune wine. Very very sweet, prune flavored, and… I hate to waste. But honestly, I can’t think what we’d DO with this foul brew. Sigh… the mistakes we make and hopefully learn from.

Hokubai Plum Nasty
Plum Wine? Welll… the label was pretty.

 

0 thoughts on “Coconuts and Plums

  1. I had a similar experience with elderberry wine. I don’t drink — partly because as a Christian it’s not a good testimony (even though the Bible doesn’t forbid the consumption of alcohol, only drunkenness), and partly because I don’t like the taste. But several years ago I picked up a couple of bottles of elderberry wine, thinking that if we got the flu, it would be a good thing to have on hand (since elderberry is proven to kill the flu virus).

    Ok, so not too long after I got the elderberry wine, I came down with the flu. This was before we started taking Vit. D3 supplements, so I did my usual slide into bronchitis/almost pneumonia, and was having trouble breathing well enough to sleep. Time to try the elderberry wine. I took half a glass at bedtime, and it helped. So I continued taking it until I felt better. Then I happened to look at the ingredients list — no elderberry in it at all! It did taste good, though, except for the alcohol part of it. I guess the alcohol was probably relaxing the bronchial spasms and helping me breathe better.

    I have no idea what to tell you about your plum wine! Maybe you could look for recipes that use it, and try one?

  2. Real actual plum wine is tasty… a bit sweet and syrupy (at least the variety I had at the chinese restaurant) but not pruney. More plummy, which is a totally different flavor.

    I have always thought that plugey wine would be delicious, or even choke cherry wine. But I think the latter would have to be cooked first…

    It’s a shame that the elderberry wine didn’t have elderberries in it. The real thing was used by medieval monks and the like exactly as you used yours, freeholder.

    I will have a glass of wine with dinner, but I don’t go in for any “pretty” side effects. I think the downsides outweigh the pluses, as well as the whole Christian witness part. I rarely have wine at home, because it takes weeks to get through a whole bottle on my own. I just don’t need that much.

    1. I’ve made chokecherry jelly many times, and love it, I’m sure that could be translated to wine if you skipped the pectin part.

      Because I use wine for cooking, I don’t worry about it in the house. Neither of us have more than a glass at a time, but it does keep with the cork back in. 🙂

  3. Ah, the curse of the cute label. Seems to be a law of nature – if I haven’t done my homework on researching it, and it has a cute label / cute bottle, the wine inside is going to be foul and nigh undrinkable.

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